Do The President And Vice President Have To Be From Different States? This Executive Branch Urban Legend Doesn't Hold
As presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump gradually moves toward selecting his running mate (the VP list only exists inside his mind at the moment, rather than on paper or an actual computer), there’s one concern he won’t need to take into account: Can a president and vice president be from the same state? There's actually an easy and short answer to this executive branch query: Yeah, they totally can.
The site Politifact.com makes it clear that while the idea of presidents and vice presidents needing to be from different states has gained some steam at different times, there’s no truth behind it. The confusion apparently stems from changes to historical Electoral College proceedings, according to Politifact.com:
Those electors cast a separate vote for president and vice president. But that wasn't always the case. From 1789-1804, Electoral College members got to vote for two men (and back then, it was only men). The top vote-getter became president and the second-place winner became vice president.
There was one caveat. Electoral College voters, called electors, could not cast both of their votes for two people from their home state. In plainspeak, an Electoral College member from Maryland couldn’t cast his two votes for candidates from Maryland. Electors from any other state could still vote for two Maryland representatives, just not the electors from Maryland.
A year ago, when both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio of Florida were top men in the GOP race, having a ticket comprised of a president and vice president from the same state was more of a viable prospect; it wouldn't have been shocking for one of them to nab the nomination and tap the other to be VP. (This would also have been a dreamy, dreamy fantasy for establishment Republicans.) However, it looks now like the urban legend that a president and vice president must be from different states won't be dredged up again until the next election.
The idea that somewhere buried in the Constitution is a clause preventing the selection of a running mate who shares the nominee’s home state gets floated with varying degrees of popularity at this stage in a lot of election cycles. With neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, is this really even a likely option.
Trump’s home state is New York. While he’d be free to pick a politician from that state if he wanted to, the latest mutterings on the web favor names like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. Plus, of course, there's the VP possibility of New Jersey’s Chris Christie, whose continued visibility is giving Ann Coulter more reasons to be a horrible person.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Trump’s potential VP nods, though Clinton hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of interest on the Democratic side. Trump did recently tweet that he hopes Elizabeth Warren ends up on the ticket — and the Massachusetts senator has been floated by pundits as a VP prospect (though not by Clinton's actual campaign).
However, as Warren hasn’t endorsed Clinton (or Sanders, it should be noted) that’s not likely to happen, no matter how much her liberal fans think it would improve Clinton’s campaign.